Meet Meditation Australia member Catherine Sullivan.
Catherine’s meditation journey began at university when she started practicing yoga, although it did take several years and numerous attempts before it became part of her daily life. As a dancer the physical practice of yoga was what drew her in, but it was the breath and connection that kept her going back. After noticing that she was leaving every class with a smile on her face she was hooked and wanted to learn more, this enquiry led her to undertake her initial teacher training graduating in 2009.
Catherine taught yoga and mini meditations in various locations throughout Melbourne before crossing the bridge and moving to the thriving western suburbs with her family. Once there, she opened Yoga Moves West in 2015 with a desire to share the many benefits she has experienced through yoga and meditation to her local community.
Overtime she noticed her personal practice changing and she was doing less asana and spending more time in meditation, it was here she realised she craved a mentor to help deepen her practice, leading her to undertake a formal meditation teacher training graduating in 2023.
Catherine has been teaching stand-alone meditation classes for the past five years but her favourite class to teach combines both her passions of 30 mins chair yoga and 30 mins meditation. She likes to jazz things up a bit each week and teaches all different types of meditation, as different techniques resonate with different people. You’ll find Catherine way out west in the City of Wyndham teaching in various local community centres. A few of her favourites are progressive body scan, mantra meditations, sound meditations, one seat, intention setting/affirmations, and because her students love visualisations (although she can’t see colour) they have become a firm favourite too.
Through her daily meditation practice Catherine has learned to not “sweat the small stuff” and to not get caught up in the “story”, although this is sometimes way easier said than done – that’s why it’s called a practice right? Catherine believes everyone, no matter their age, experience and ability, can boost health and wellbeing from a regular yoga and meditation practice.
What’s the story behind your first meditation experience?
Ok, this is funny, you’ll laugh! While at uni I read a book called Holy Cow, about a solo backpacker in India, this was when I had just started yoga and was loving it! So when I finished I went travelling solo for 6 months to India & Nepal. In the book, she went to a Vipassana retreat, and I thought that sounded amazing, so I did too – my first time meditating was a 10 day silent Vipassana Retreat in India!!
What or who inspires you?
I have 2 favourite quotes:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
25 mins on the lounge – I cross my legs, put a pillow behind my back, blanket over knees and my cat joins me every morning
Meditation Apps, yes or no?
Yes, I use Insight timer every morning. I have preset times (depending on how long I have) with an interval bell going off every 5 mins. And for the rare times I have trouble sleeping I have a great Yoga Nidra saved too.
You’re the voice: Do you sing in the shower?
The getting of wisdom: What’s the best, or most important thing, you’ve learned as a meditation teacher?
You are the expert of your mind and body – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, there are always options, and opting not to do, is sometimes the best thing to do.
What makes your heart sing and what you have come to value most?
Authentic connection 🙂 eye contact, people who want to know the answer when they ask how are you – that plus singing at the top of your lungs in the car
What’s the most inspiring or loveliest thing you’ve seen or experienced today?
After a quiet and dormant winter our rose garden is blooming right off and I like to pause and appreciate it every day .
Yoga Moves West